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Why Should I Visit Hydra?

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Hydra at a glance

The cosmopolitan and artistic “Lady of the Saronic Gulf” has always captivated visitors with its refined elegance and romantic atmosphere, which you can visit by booking a ticket to Hydra.

This historic home of sea captains with its centuries-old maritime tradition and revolutionary spirit became the setting for famous films and was also a favourite Mediterranean resort of the international jet set of the 1950s and 1960s.  The legendary figures of the last century who sought refuge and inspiration here, from Chagall and Picasso to Leonard Cohen, all admired the austere beauty of an unspoilt landscape with no cars, where simplicity and a slow lifestyle are valued as much as the highest luxury.

10 reasons to visit Hydra
  1. To take a romantic stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets of Hydra Town, one of the best-preserved traditional settlements in Europe, admiring the bougainvillea and the stone houses with their tiled roofs.

  2. To watch the sunset from the Bastions with their cannons to the right and left of the Hydra’s port.
  3. To see the house where the famous Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen lived for six years in the 1960s.
  4. To see some of the pioneering contemporary art exhibitions at the DESTE Foundation Project Space in the Old Slaughterhouse.
  5. To experience the spectacle of the Miaoulia Festival in June. The highlight of the celebrations is a re-enactment of the 1821 Battle of Hydra, at which a replica Turkish frigate is burnt to the sound of classical music followed by a firework display.
  6. To enjoy a cocktail with a view of the sunset on the terrace of the legendary Hydroneta bar, which overlooks the sea below the famous cannons. There is also a concrete platform on the rocks for diving into the deep crystal-clear waters of the sea.
  7. To take a selfie in front of the windmill with the sculpture based on the film “The boy and the dolphin”, above the cannons. It is known locally as (Sophia) Loren’s Mill.
  8. To admire the imposing 18th-century mansions of the island's historic sea captains. Make a stop at the Tombazis Mansion, which since 1936 has housed an annex of the School of Fine Arts, the Tsamados Mansion (the Merchants’ School), and the Lazaros Kountouriotis Mansion (a branch of the National Historical Museum).
  9. Look out over the Aegean from the seven windmills that stand atop the Hill of St Athanasios.
  10. Visit Hydra Museum and Historical Archive to admire priceless treasures from the 1821 War of Independence. Don't miss the Gallery, which has oils and watercolours of warships by a number of great artists, as well as a collection of rare books and manuscripts.
The top 5 beaches

Mandraki: The island’s only sandy beach is in a sheltered bay just minutes from the port of Hydra. It offers unique opportunities for water skiing and windsurfing.

St Nicholas: This sheltered shingle beach with clear waters and shady pine trees is situated in a bay at the southwestern tip of the island. It has sun beds and umbrellas and can be reached either on foot or by water taxi.

Bisti: A pebble beach in the southern part of the island, surrounded by high cliffs and verdant pine trees. The emerald waters of the bay, which can be accessed by sea taxi, are ideal for diving and speargun fishing.

Kaminia: A pebble beach with shallow water that is ideal for children and families.  Located in the beautiful natural harbour of the fishing village of the same name.

Vlychos: A beautiful pebble beach with crystal-clear water against a backdrop of white houses perched on the rocks next to the little church of St Charalambos.  It can be reached on foot from the coastal road or by water taxi.

Don’t leave Hydra without…
  • Climbing up the hill to the medieval settlement of Kiafa, the Old Town of Hydra, with its narrow streets, stone houses and white courtyards behind high walls.
  • Visiting Rafalia Pharmacy, one of the oldest (it was established in 1890) and most beautiful in Europe. Admire the rare collection of china and glass containers and old pharmaceutical books.
  • Taking a dip in the deep crystal-clear waters at Spilia, a rocky area good for swimming. It is situated beneath the bar of the same name, which is one of the most popular places for locals and visitors alike to relax and enjoy a coffee.
  • Visiting the museum and studio of the painter Panagiotis Tetsis, which is housed in his family home.
  • Strolling the length of the legendary seafront at Hydra harbour, following in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie Kennedy.
  • Taking a selfie at the Red House (1786) in the port of Kaminia, once the home of Admiral Miaoulis and now an art gallery.
  • Following the path from the Monastery of the Prophet Elijah to the top of Mount Eros (588 m) to enjoy an unforgettable panoramic view of Hydra and the Saronic Gulf.
  • Taking a trip to the island of Dokos in the straits between Hydra and the Peloponnese. Swim in its crystal-clear waters, where the world's oldest shipwreck (dating from the 3rd millennium BC) was discovered in 1975.
Tasty Experiences
  • Try the famous pear-shaped amygdalota from the historic Tsangaris patisserie.  This delicious treat made from almonds, rose water, semolina and sugar has been a favourite of locals, tourists and Hollywood stars since 1930.
  • Sit at one of the tables of the legendary Xeri Elia, a taverna that is an institution on the island, having operated without a break since 1825 in the narrow lanes of the port of Hydra.  It was for many years one of the favourite hangouts of Leonard Cohen and his friends, so much so that he wrote a song about it.

"Hydra is almost a bare rock of an island and its population, made up almost exclusively of seamen, is rapidly dwindling. The town, which clusters about the harbor in the form of an amphitheatre, is immaculate. There are only two colors, blue and white, and the white is whitewashed every day, down to the cobblestones in the street. The houses are even more cubistically arranged than at Poros. Aesthetically it is perfect, the very epitome of that flawless anarchy which supersedes, because it includes and goes beyond, all the formal arrangements of the imagination. This purity, this wild and naked perfection of Hydra, is in great part due to the spirit of the men who once dominated the island."

Henri Miller on Hydra (1939), from his book “The Colossus of Maroussi”.

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